Lakewood Partition Lawyers
The City of Lakewood was first developed as a post-World War II planned housing development by Louis Boyar, Mark Taper, and Ben Weingart. These three men are credited as the people who forever altered the map of Southern California. Homes were massed produced, with over 17,500 houses being built in less than three years, setting the record for 110 completed houses each day. Today, over 70% of Lakewood homes are owner-occupied, which suggests that many homes are jointly owned. Residents of Lakewood who wish to sell their homes may face disputes with co-owners. Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:
- Split real estate dispute;
- Brother-Sister real estate dispute;
- Investor-Investor real estate dispute; and
- Significant other real estate dispute
Tenants in common have the fundamental right to occupy the whole of the property. Thus, a tenant in common is not entitled to possess or use the property in a way that excludes another co-owner's right to possess or use the property for any period of time. When a wrongful dispossession or exclusion occurs, the tenant in possession has committed an ouster. Once a party is ousted, he or she is "entitled to recover damages resulting from the ouster, which ordinarily amounts to his or her share of the value of the use and occupation of the land from the time of the ouster." (Zaslow v. Kroenert (1946) 29 Cal.2d 541, 548.) Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed a dispossessed co-owner's right to rent after he or she was ousted from the property in a case decided by the Sixth District Court of Appeal known as Colmet-Daage v. Cremoux (2021) 2021 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 2208.
There, a wife and husband took title to property as joint tenants and later when the couple separated, the wife recorded a Declaration of Severance of Joint Tenancy, making both parties tenants in common. The husband then sought a partition action and one-half of the rents received by the wife. The trial court ordered the partition and found that the husband was entitled to one-half of the fair rental value of the property under the principles of ouster. The wife appealed, contending that the application of ouster principles provided a credit in favor of the husband in excess of the amount he was entitled.
The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that "the ouster must be proved by acts of adverse character, such as claiming the whole for himself or herself, denying the title of his or her companion, or refusing to permit him or her to enter." (Zaslow v. Kroenert, 29 Cal.2d at 548.) The Appellate Court determined that the record supported a finding that the ouster had occurred long before the date the wife alleged as she stopped admitting him onto the Property, installed a security system to exclude the husband, sought a restraining order against the husband from going near the Property, and listed the Property as her residence address. The Appellate Court also determined that because there was no citation to the record to support her statement that the fair market rent would be zero due to the Property's broken sewer and waste drainage line making the Property uninhabitable, her contentions would be disregarded. As such, the ouster continued based the wife's conduct until the date of trial and the husband was entitled to the fair rental value for that time.How the Underwood Law Firm Can Help
In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact the experienced Lakewood Partition Lawyers at the Underwood Law Firm, P.C. as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.